WEED PROFILE: African Boxthorn Lycium ferocissimum

African Boxthorn Lycium ferocissimum

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THIS PLANT HAS BEEN DECLARED A WEED OF NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE 

Family: Solanaceae.

Form: Shrub

Origin: Native to South Africa.

Flowers/Seedhead: Flowers: Singly or in pairs at the leaf-stem junction. White with purplish throat, about 1 cm diameter; 5-petalled; fragrant. Flowers to 12 mm long with male part of the flower (stamen) projecting to 4 mm past the petals. Flowers mostly summer but some flowering throughout year.

Description: Much branched shrub to 6 m high. Leaves fleshy, elliptic to 4 cm long (see photo). Berry to 1 cm wide on short drooping stalk. Seeds 2.5 mm long, dull yellow.

Distinguishing features: Distinguished by rigid branches with side branches mostly longer than 1 cm, leafy and ending in a stout spine, and berries that are globe- to egg-shaped and ripening red with up to 70 seeds.

Dispersal: Spread by seed. Fruit is commonly eaten by foxes and birds and viable seeds are excreted. Often forms dense stands as a result of these animals feeding and remaining in the vicinity of fruiting boxthorn. Shoots readily from broken roots.

Confused With: Other Lycium species. Native Australian Boxthorn Lycium australe grows in subsaline soil at the edge of salt lakes and claypans in arid areas of Australia but this species has narrow leaves usually less than 5 mm long. Chinese Boxthorn Lycium barbarum has shorter leafless spines and ovate leaves with an acute tip.

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Source: Weed.org.au Website  16th May 2016

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WEEKLY PEST PROFILE: Rodents

Rodents

Rats and mice

In Queensland, there could be up to twenty-four native species of rodents. However, it is the three introduced species that have become such pests to society:

  • Brown Rat (or Sewer Rat): a burrower, is thick set and brown in colour.
  • Roof Rat: a climber, is slender and black in colour.
  • House Mouse: can be distinguished by its small size.

The presence of rats and mice in buildings can result in food spoilage and contamination, physical damage caused by gnawing which can sometimes lead to costly fires, and the transmission of diseases to humans.

The most common disease transmitted by rats is Salmonellosis which is spread when food is consumed by humans which has been contaminated by excreta or saliva of rats.

In Queensland, introduced rats have been associated with the spread of Plague (the last outbreak being in 1923), Weils Disease, Rat Bite Fever, Murine Typhus and a form of Meningitis, all of which may result in serious illness or death. (Note: Plague and Murine Typhus are transmitted by rat fleas.)

How do you detect rodents?

  • damage to food containers or droppings
  • rat runs (lines in the dust or greasy smears on walls and fences worn by the rat)
  • disappearance of food
  • sounds during the night
  • gnaw marks or burrows.

(Source: City of Gold Coast Offical Website 2015)

 

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